History and Evolution of Notes in Hong Kong

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  • 2018
    The three note-issuing banks launch the 2018 Series Banknotes

    It is the first time that the thematic subjects on the reverse side of the note-issuing banks’ new series banknotes are standardised for each denomination to facilitate easy recognition by the public. 

    For aesthetic presentation of the subject and easy distinction from previous series, the reverse side of the banknotes is in vertical orientation rather than the traditional horizontal layout.

    $1000: Hong Kong as an international financial centre

    $500: Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark

    $100: Cantonese opera

    $50: Butterflies that inhabit Hong Kong

    $20: Dim sum and tea culture

    Please see here for details.

  • 2017
    The “Bank of China (Hong Kong) Centenary Commemorative Banknote” is issued

    Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited issues the “Bank of China (Hong Kong) Centenary Commemorative Banknote” with a face value of $100. 

  • 2015
    The “HSBC 150th Anniversary Banknote” is issued

    The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited issues the “150th Anniversary Banknote” with a face value of $150. 

  • 2012
    The “Commemorative Banknote in Celebration of the Centenary of Bank of China” is issued

    Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited issues the “Commemorative Banknote in Celebration of the Centenary of Bank of China” with a face value of $100. 

  • 2010
    The three note-issuing banks launch the 2010 Series Banknotes

    The 2010 Series Banknotes incorporate advanced security features, the locations of which are standardised across all five denominations. The banknotes also carry accessibility features with strong embossed feel to help the visually impaired differentiate the denominations.

    Each of the three note-issuing banks has its own design theme.

    Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited: Heritage and technology

    The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited: Celebrations which take place in Hong Kong

    Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited: Hong Kong’s natural scenery

    Please see here for details.

  • 2009
    The “Standard Chartered Hong Kong 150th Anniversary Commemorative Charity Banknote” is issued

    Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited issues the “Standard Chartered Hong Kong 150th Anniversary Commemorative Charity Banknote” with a face value of $150. 

  • 2008
    Hong Kong issues the first HKD commemorative banknote – the “Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Hong Kong Dollar Commemorative Banknote”

    Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited issues the “Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Hong Kong Dollar Commemorative Banknote” with a face value of $20. 

    Commemorative banknotes, though not intended for use in daily transactions, are also legal tender. They are available for public sale at a price above the face value, with all net proceeds donated to local charitable and community causes.

     

  • 2007
    The Government issues $10 polymer notes

    The $10 polymer note enters circulation alongside the paper note.  Polymer notes are cleaner, more durable, and more environmental friendly.

    Please see here for details.

  • 2003
    The three note-issuing banks launch the 2003 Series Banknotes

    The three note-issuing banks launch the 2003 Series Banknotes, all featuring Hong Kong’s attractions as the design theme and standardising the colour of the same denomination for easy identification.

    Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited: Changing faces of the Peak and Victoria Harbour over the years

    The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited: Hong Kong’s landmarks and landscapes

    Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited: Iconic architectural buildings in Hong Kong

    $1000:     yellowish gold

    $500:       brown

    $100:       red

    $50:         green

    $20:         blue

    Please see here for details.

  • 2002
    The Government issues new $10 notes

    The Government, through the HKMA, issues new $10 notes.  The note is purple in colour, hence nicknamed “colourful crab”.

    Please see here for details.

  • 1995
    The Government 1-cent note ceases to be legal tender

    The Government 1-cent note ceases to be legal tender.

  • 1985
    Standardisation of the size of banknotes for the same denomination

    The size of banknotes for the same denomination is standardised.

    Banknote size: from huge to handy

    A banknote issued before the 1950s measured more than twice the size of today's banknote.  These banknotes were commonly known in Chinese as “the big blanket”, reflecting their large size.  The size of the banknotes has gradually been reduced since 1959.

  • 1985
    The first $20 banknote is issued

    Standard Chartered Bank begins issuing $20 banknotes, followed by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in 1986.

  • 1977
    The first $1,000 banknote is issued

    The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation prints the first $1,000 banknote.

  • 1969
    Most paper notes issued by the Government cease to be legal tender in Hong Kong

    With the exception of 1-cent notes, all paper notes issued by the Government cease to be legal tender in Hong Kong.

  • 1952
    The $1 note is printed with the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II

    The $1 note is printed with the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

  • 1941
    The Government issues 1-cent, 5-cent and 10-cent notes

    During the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, there is a huge demand for metal to produce weapons and ammunition.  Coins are in short supply and therefore the Government issues 1-cent, 5-cent and 10-cent notes. Later, the local currencies are mostly replaced by Japanese military notes.

  • 1939
    The $1 note is printed with the portrait of King George VI

    The $1 note is printed with the portrait of King George VI.

  • 1935
    The first Government note is issued

    The first Government note is issued to replace the $1 banknote printed by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.

  • 20th century
    More design patterns appear on banknotes

    The patterns on banknotes mostly feature drawings of China’s scenery, buildings or mythical figures.

  • Late 19th century
    The design of banknotes is relatively simple

    The design of the early banknotes is relatively simple, closely following the format of bank drafts and usually printed with the issuing bank’s coat of arms.

  • 1846
    The first Hong Kong banknote, denominated in $5, is issued

    The first Hong Kong banknote, denominated in $5, is issued.  The size of the banknote is relatively large.  People have to fold it several times before putting it in their wallets, leading to its nickname “the big blanket”.

Last revision date : 26 August 2019